A new “meta-analysis” published in The Journal of Higher Education suggests that the Graduate Record Examination is losing its significance.
“Overall, 61.6 percent of reported effects were nonsignificant (i.e. no predictive value of GRE scores on student outcomes),” the study found. “Further, the magnitude of observed predictive relationships decreased significantly over time. The aggregate mean effect across all studies and outcomes was small, significant, and positive: GRE score predicted 2.25 percent of variance across measured outcomes, 4 percent of variance in overall [grade point average], and 2.56 percent of variance in first-year graduate GPA. Sample composition effects by race/ethnicity were notable but nonsignificant, with increasing proportions of people of color within a study sample associated with poorer predictive validity. Likewise, the magnitude of negative effects where lower GRE scores predicted stronger student outcomes increased from 0.16 percent of variance for all-white samples to 5.3 percent for samples comprised entirely of people of color.”
Alberto Acereda, associate vice president of global higher education at the Educational Testing Service, which offers the GRE, said, “ETS continues to stand behind the undeniable value of the GRE test when used as part of a holistic admissions process. There have been countless of studies over the last many decades that speak to the test’s predictive value. Specific to this study, it is worth noting that ETS has never claimed the GRE predicts a student’s GPA beyond their first year. We also believe that some of the authors’ interpretations of their own findings are subject to debate. The GRE has and continues to play an important role in the graduate admissions process as the lone standardized data point of a larger picture of an applicant.”